Solar Panel Project
The future is shiny bright at St Peter’s preschool
St Peters Preschool installed Solar Panels during April. We are now harvesting our daily energy from the sun.
A new solar project will not only help cut costs, but also reduce the carbon footprint of one of
Armidale’s longest running preschools.
St Peter’s Preschool has launched a crowdfunding campaign on 29 October 2016, which it hopes will raise $8,500 needed to install a 3.47 kWp solar system, supplied by New England Solar Power.
St Peter’s Director, Jane Schutz said with winter temperatures dropping below freezing, heating
costs for the small community-owned preschool is one of services’ biggest annual
“With just under 40 children attending the preschool each day, we are heavily reliant on air
conditioners to keep the rooms cool in summer and warm in winter. But with electricity costs
rising, it now accounts for more than 10 per cent of our annual budget excluding wages.”
Ms Schutz said the solar panels will create significant savings from both an economic and
“Approximately 40 per cent of the preschool's electricity will be generated by solar each year,
saving the preschool approximately $1,000 on electricity and reducing our carbon emissions
by 3,789 kg CO2-equivalent per annum.”
The first phase of the project includes the installation of 11 panels and 11 micro-inverters.
Installed beneath each solar panel, micro-inverters maximise energy production and convert
DC power into low-voltage AC electricity.
Armidale Regional Council has already thrown its support behind the project, awarding a
$1000 community grant to the service which will act as seed funding.
Ms Schutz said the addition of an interactive web-based application will allow the children and
their families to monitor energy production and consumption on the site in real-time.
“This is will be a wonderful teaching aid for the preschool. The children and their families will
be able to see just how much electricity is being generated from the sun. And what effect turning
off a light or putting a on heater can have on energy consumption.”
Ms Schutz said the project is set to benefit the current members of the preschool, but added
that more than 1000 families from Armidale and surrounds are estimated to have direct
contact, experience and interaction with solar energy during the lifespan of the solar panels.
“We are already harvesting fruit and vegetables from our gardens and feeding our worms the
scraps from morning fruit time. Installing solar panels is just the next step in our drive to be